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KA-BAR Welcomes The Gunny Back Home

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This week is the 118th birthday of KA-BAR Knives, which don't (or certainly shouldn't) require any introduction here. As part of their celebration, the Olean, NY based has announced they're welcoming R. Lee Ermey home.

In a remarkably example of succinct marketing copy they've explained it to us.

“The Gunny carried a KA-BAR around the globe during his time in the US Marine Corps. His return to KA-BAR is an apt homecoming in time for KA-BAR’s 118th birthday, which is celebrated April 29.”

Here’s a video about it.

KA-BAR Welcomes The Gunny Back Home

Originally founded in 1800, here’s a run-down of KA-BAR’s history.

  • 1800 The U.S. cutlery industry begins in New England when a group of cutlers from England's Sheffield Cutlery Industry ban together.
  • April 29, 1897
    In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a group of 38 men form a Limited Partnership, known as Tidioute Cutlery Company, to manufacture and sell cutlery. The formation is now widely considered to be the beginnings of KA-BAR Knives, Inc.
  • 1898
    First sales of cutlery marks the beginning of KA-BAR as it is today
  • 1902
    Mr. Wallace R. Brown purchases the assets of the Tidioute Cutlery Company, and applies to the Governor of Pennsylvania to form a corporation, the Union Razor Company (later changed to Union Cutlery Company in 1909), for the purpose of manufacturing and selling cutlery.
  • December 1911
    A new Union Cutlery Company is registered in Olean, New York, creating two Union Cutlery Company incorporations: the original in Tidioute, Pennsylvania and the new one in Olean, New York. Once the Olean facility is operating successfully, the Tidioute, Pennsylvania plant is closed down.
  • 1920's
    During this period, trademarks like OLCUT, KEENWELL, and KA-BAR are adopted and embellished on the knives.
  • c 1942
    Soon after the start of World War II, the Union Cutlery Company submits a KA-BAR branded knife to the U.S. Marine Corps for issue to fighting personnel.
  • 1942
    The Marine Corps accepts a reworked design of the submitted knife and begins using it as their standard issue fighting/utility knife.
  • 1952
    Due to the role of the KA-BAR branded USMC knife in the War, the directors of the company decide to change the corporate name to KA-BAR Cutlery, Inc.
  • 1960's
    KA-BAR is sold by the Brown family and subsequently goes through a series of ownership changes ultimately being sold in 1966 to Cole National Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • May 1996
    The KA-BAR product line and assets are sold to Alcas Corporation of Olean, New York.
  • 1998
    KA-BAR celebrates its 100th year in the knife-making business.
  • 2003
    KA-BAR moves to its current location, 200 Homer Street, Olean, NY.
  • 2010
    KA-BAR names co-Presidents, John F. Stitt – President, Sales & Marketing and Kimberly L. Johnson – President, Administration and Finance
  • 2014
    KA-BAR acquires Ek Commando Knife Company
  • 2015
    KA-BAR begins production of KA-BAR/Ek branded knives

KA-BAR Present Day

If you would like to visit KA-BAR online, click right here. If you would like to learm more about R. Lee Ermey, you can click right here.


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